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Sunday 23 September 2018

Sex attacker Anthony Lyons to wait on sentence

Anthony Lyons. Photo: Collins
Anthony Lyons. Photo: Collins

SEX attacker Anthony Lyons will have to wait for a ruling on a new sentence for his assault on a young woman.

The businessman had his case adjourned at the Court of Criminal Appeal today after the DPP brought a challenge to a six-month sentence that had been imposed by the trial judge.

The court deferred its decision to a later date after Lyons's barrister argued that he and his family had suffered a "punitive" level of media coverage.

Evidence was also heard that Lyons (52) had been forced to give up his golf club membership in what his lawyer said was a "spectacular fall from grace".

The court was told Lyons had crashed his car because of press "stalking" on one occasion and that his relationship with his wife had been affected.

Statements were also heard from three of Mr Lyons's children in which they alleged that they had been "hounded" by the press.

Last week, the three-judge court upheld an appeal by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) against the length of the sentence handed down by Judge Desmond Hogan at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Judge Hogan had controversially suspended five-and-a-half years of a six-year jail term and ordered Lyons to pay his victim €75,000 in compensation.

 

ASSAULTING

Lyons, of Griffith Avenue, Drumcondra had pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting the woman on October 3, 2010.

During the trial, he admitted the attack – in which the victim was rugby-tackled to the ground and physically and sexually assaulted – but claimed he was overcome with an "irresistible urge" due to a combination of alcohol, cholesterol medicine and cough syrup.

At the time, Mr Justice John L Murray told the appeal court the mitigating factors could not justify the sentence given the gravity of the offence.

Today, Patrick Gageby SC, for Lyons, produced a number of reports indicating that the publicity surrounding the case had had a "punitive effect" on Lyons and his family.

He had not been in a position to stay in Ireland and when he holidayed abroad he had been photographed along with his then-15-year-old daughter.

Mr Gageby outlined statements made by three of Lyons's children – his 22-year-old son, and his 16- and 19-year-old daughters, as well as his sister in-law.

While in the UK, Lyons was subject to the Sex Offender's register, and a report from the Metropolitan Police stated that he was considered "low risk" and had been fully compliant with requirements.

 

CONVICTION

Professionally, the effect of the conviction and the "interest that journalists have had" in the affairs of his company meant he had to "resile from any front-of-house activity".

The "very significant reputational loss" extended to his social life, and he had to leave his golf club after being told his membership would be withdrawn otherwise.

"It was a very spectacular fall from grace, a very public fall from grace with a level of publicity that has marked him almost as an outlaw in an age where such conduct seems almost mediaeval", Mr Gageby said.

Caroline Biggs SC, for the DPP, said it was accepted that adverse media coverage could be taken as mitigation but added that accused people must be held up for criticism by the press.

She said the DPP viewed the assault as being at the higher end of the scale for such offences.

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